Public Lands

Public Lands Watch: NEPA Regulations

Administration asks for ideas about how to revise regulations implementing NEPA

A key statute for public lands management is not specific to any of the federal land management agencies or any specific land categories or activities.  Instead, it is a statute that applies generically to all federal government activities: the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  NEPA, in short, requires the federal government to thoroughly analyze significant […]

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UCLA Law Wells Environmental Law Clinic Files U.S. Supreme Court Brief on Behalf of Scientists in Endangered Species Act Case

Scientists’ Brief Argues Federal Agencies and Courts Must Use Science in Interpreting “Habitat” Under the Endangered Species Act; Clinic Clients Include Profs. Stuart Pimm & E.O. Wilson, Along With Three MacArthur “Genius” Award Recipients & Ten Other Esteemed Scientists

Congress enacted the Endangered Species Act in 1973 to protect species at risk of extinction.  Congress viewed species extinction as an urgent threat requiring urgent, decisive action.  The result was a bipartisan law designed to apply scientific knowledge and expertise to managing the threats to U.S. species.  While the Act has been controversial, and characterized […]

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Public Lands Watch: Sage Grouse Plan Revisions

BLM and Forest Service produce draft environmental impact statements for plan revisions

I wrote in the fall about the Trump Administration’s efforts to weaken protections for sage grouse on federal public lands.  The next step in that process is currently ongoing – draft environmental impact statements (EIS) for revisions to land management plans for BLM and Forest Service lands.  Those EISs are required by the National Environmental […]

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What Trump Gives Appalachia With One Hand, He Takes Away with the Other

Ryan Zinke’s public land policies are accelerating the decline of eastern coal.

There is no one who Trump loves more than coal miners, and he has surrounded himself with Appalachian coal miners on important occasions. One of his most fervent pledges was to “end the war on coal.” Yet, Trump’s public lands policies are helping to accelerate the decline of eastern coal. A recent study by researchers […]

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Law professor comment on BLM proposal to revoke methane rule

Comment ids flaws in BLM’s proposal to revoke rule restricting methane emissions from oil and gas development on federal lands

I’ve already posted a couple of times on BLM’s proposal to revoke a rule that limits methane emissions (a major greenhouse gas) from oil and gas operations on federal lands.  The period for public comment on BLM’s proposal closes today.  A group of environmental law professors just filed a comment noting major legal problems with […]

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Native American Treaties, Declining Salmon Populations, Broken Promises & Environmental Justice

Pending Washington v. U.S. Supreme Court Decision Offers Hope & Vindication for Tribes, Coastal Fisheries

Truth be told, the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2017-18 Term has been an unsually quiet one for environmental and natural resources law.  Until now. This week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a last-minute addition to the Court’s current docket.  Washington v. United States, No. 17-269, a case the justices only accepted for review in January, […]

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Tales From the Front: A Field Trip to the Utah Monuments

Personal Reflections on the Raging Debate Over Trump’s Utah Monument Reductions

One of most highly visible disputes arising out of the Trump Administration’s multifaceted efforts to roll back and nullify the natural resources policies of previous administrations is the decision by President Trump and Secretary of the Interior Zinke to substantially reduce two national monuments in Utah created by former President Obama under the Antiquities Act. President Trump’s December […]

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Enquiring Minds Want to Know (Ryan Zinke edition)

Depending on the Fall elections, Secretary Zinke could face some difficult oversight sessions.

Control of the House matters for many reasons, but perhaps most importantly because of the power to conduct investigations. We can’t be sure of how the election will come out, of course, but if the Democrats do take the House, they may have some questions for Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Here are a […]

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United States v. California and SB 50

Federal lawsuit against California’s law to protect federal public lands may not be an easy win

Monday the federal government filed a lawsuit against the state of California challenging SB 50, a state law that attempts to give the state the ability to purchase federal public lands that are sold or disposed of.  The lawsuit has gotten a lot of attention in the press, some with assessments that the federal government’s […]

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Public Lands Watch: Fire Appropriations and 2018 Omnibus

2018 Omnibus bill expands future funding for fire suppression efforts, and streamlines environmental review for some timber projects

Tom Schumann helped draft this blog post. The 2018 budget act signed into law on March 23, 2018 will increase the funding available for wildfire suppression, enabling the Forest Service and Interior Department to respond to ever more severe fires while easing the strain on their overall budgets. Before the new law, Congress limited appropriations […]

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